Thursday, June 12, 2014

Don't worry your pretty head over a MicroMort

The Norm Chronicles: Stories and Numbers About Danger and Death,  by Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter is about risk.  I read the review by Jordan Ellenberg in the WSJ--June 3, 2014--not the whole magillah.

They trace the risks of death through the human life cycle--what menaces children for real, then young adults, etc.

A MicroMort is one-millionth of a chance of death. (I know you were wondering.)

MicroLives are about 30 mins of existence.

Use in a sentence? General anesthesia is 5 MicroMorts, about the same as driving 1,200 miles in the US.

But we don't think of danger like this--we think of it in stories. Taking ecstasy and riding horses carries about the same risk--but because of stories, we think of the former as more dangerous. It is way riskier to drive than fly a plane--but we don't believe it.

I never know what this stuff boils down to--usually that I am wrong and stupid. But I am very sure it's dangerous information.

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